FAO has a longstanding history of collaborating with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as evidenced by a number of decisions and joint work programmes adopted or endorsed by the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) and FAO’s Governing and Statutory Bodies. The UN Biodiversity Conference, held in December 2016 in Cancun, Mexico, reiterated its invitation to governments to use FAO’s guidance related to biodiversity and agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.
In addition, the Conference resulted in significant commitments for action on biodiversity to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Through the Cancun Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being, ministers and other heads of delegation have committed to work at all levels within their governments and across all sectors to mainstream biodiversity through multiple actions.
Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has placed biodiversity at the centre of many development activities, particularly those related to sustainable agriculture sectors. It calls for the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies. In addition, the Agenda calls for the promotion of fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and appropriate access to such resources. Successful biodiversity mainstreaming should contribute to achieving the SDG targets 14, 15 and 2, and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, many of which are currently far from being achieved within their 2020 deadlines.
SDG 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. With its different targets, SDG 2 exemplifies a key feature of the 2030 Agenda that stresses the inter-relatedness and interdependence of many SDGs and their targets. Effective elimination of food insecurity and malnutrition depends on the sustainability of the agricultural sectors. Progress towards SDG 2 will depend on progress made towards several of the other SDGs, including, among others, the eradication of poverty and the response to climate change. In order to achieve progress on SDG 2, policy-makers and stakeholders will need to address such critical interactions and inter-linkages, in terms of both synergies and trade-offs, among the different SDG 2 targets and between SDG 2 and other SDGs. For example, SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources and SDG 15, aiming to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Biodiversity mainstreaming across agricultural sectors should contribute significantly to the achievement of SDGs 2, 14 and 15, and the 2030 Agenda, as a whole.
The CBD COP, in its COP Decision XIII/3, welcomed the Biodiversity Mainstreaming Platform launched by FAO to build bridges between sectors, identify synergies, align goals and develop integrated cross-sectoral approaches to mainstream biodiversity in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, and invited FAO and its Governing and Statutory Bodies to consider and support the development and implementation of measures, guidance and tools to promote this. The outcome of the CBD COP 13 was brought to the attention of the 40th Session of FAO Conference.
The Platform has the objective of mainstreaming biodiversity through
- facilitating dialogue among governments, communities of practice and other stakeholders on concrete and coordinated steps to mainstream biodiversity across the agricultural sectors;
- facilitating the exchange of information and data on biodiversity and biodiversity friendly agricultural practices and policies among stakeholders.
- translating knowledge into policy-related actionable recommendations for consideration by FAO’s Governing and Statutory Bodies.
The Platform could in the mid- to longer term develop activities, such as:
- Identify policy gaps and governance challenges related to biodiversity in all relevant sectors;
- Contribute to the achievement of the relevant SDGs and Aichi Biodiversity Targets within the framework of Agenda 2030;
- Identify and promote existing governance mechanisms and policy initiatives that effectively mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity within and across agricultural sectors;
- Strengthen bridging processes, at national, regional and international levels to allow the agricultural sectors to learn from each other and from the environment sector, identifying synergies and aligning goals;
- Coordinate biodiversity mainstreaming with efforts to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their use; and
- Lead and coordinate UN system efforts on biodiversity mainstreaming across agricultural sectors.